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Before we get into this piece… A thank you. Thank you to all those readers who took part in my live webinar last Thursday (30th August). It was great to chat to you and from the feedback I’ve had, people found it really useful. That’s great. If you were unable to attend but you did pre-order the book, you should have received an email from me with the recording. Plus…you should have received a link…

I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who said it… “If you can’t explain your story to a fourteen-year-old in one sentence, you’ve got a problem with your story.” Something like that. Possibly. And hell, if he didn’t say it, he should have. It sounds like something he’d say. Anyway, it’s a useful little thought. Indeed, I had it in the back of my mind all through my years studying creative writing and it served me…

“Er…it’s actually fruit infusion for me.” What? I’d just asked fellow copywriter, André Spiteri, if he prefers putting the milk in before the tea bag or after the water. I live a pretty controversial life myself by putting the milk in first… And in Earl Grey no less, an already-too-weak-tea in most people’s eyes. But blimey… This Spiteri chap blows my blasphemy out of the water. “Yeah,” he goes on, “I’m not a tea drinker…

I have a confession. Each night, around nine o’clock, my fiancée and I sit down and turn on the television. What we watch might shock you. You see, typically, we don’t watch a lot of television. I’m usually reading. At the moment I’m being very cultured reading Walter Isaacson’s obscenely heavy biography of Leonardo Da Vinci. If Ruth isn’t reading, she’ll be listing to a documentary podcast or playbacks of counselling sessions. If our dog…

David Ogilvy or David Lynch? I ask. “As a copywriter,” Gareth replies, “I’ve got to go with Ogilvy. He’s the main man on Main Street. The don. I did enjoy Twin Peaks as a kid, though.” Charles Bukowski or Charles Saatchi? I continue. “Tough one that. Saatchi has done loads in copywriting and in art, but I’m giving Bukowski the nod. I like that downtrodden, underdog realism stuff. He championed the marginalised brilliantly. A good…

“A recent study of the advertising now running in our leading magazines shows that less than 20% of the campaigns have a U.S.P.” A U.S.P is a unique selling proposition. It’s something that sets a product or service apart from the competition. But you knew that. And you probably know — deep down — the majority of modern advertising lacks one. Weird thing is: the quote above is not from a creative director lamenting the…

A long copy sales letter can run to around 10,000 words… Writing so much copy takes a while. So, it figures you’re going to have moments deep into the writing process when fresh inspiration comes. I had this recently with a letter I’ve been working on for a financial newsletter in the US. The idea I’m writing about is a live one and new stories are breaking all the time about what’s going on in…

It’s alive. Well, almost. It’s definitely on Amazon. Look, you can click here and see it. And I’m definitely excited. Look, I’m doing a big thumbs up and everything. Yes. Shout it from the hills. My first proper book on direct-response copywriting is finally available to pre-order and I can begin to tell you all about it. If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll know this bad boy has been baking in the oven…

There’s a lot to be said for copy that’s in the right place at the right time. I was reminded of this recently when out on the field behind our house walking Pablo. Having done his business in the usual spot, I headed over to the dog waste bin to deposit it. On the side of the bin, a plucky local entrepreneur had attached some renegade advertising. It looked like this: Talk about targeted advertising.…

Sad news today that the great American novelist, Philip Roth, passed away. I’m a big fan of his work. He’s one of the writers who inspired me to write in the first place. At school, in English literature, I was mostly force-fed old Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy period-waffle that I just couldn’t connect with. It put me off reading at all. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I had somewhat of…